As a child, I never struggled to entertain myself. My mother still reminisces that she would peek into my bedroom, worried when I’d been alone behind a closed door for too long. She’d find me on my floor, wrapped up in a toy or a game of my own creation, quietly whispering to the characters that lived inside my head.
I can still recall some of my more elaborate childhood fictions. Often, they grew from visual inspiration – a piece of clothing found in our cardboard dress up box,a lyric from a musical heard in my father’s car, even a discarded scrap of wrapping paper.
While the days of pretending eventually escaped me, the art of telling a tale has remained a passion of mine. As I began to develop my own style, for instance, I found that outfits could tell many stories of their own. Each piece of clothing has a history – where it came from, how it arrived there, why you chose it. Putting those pieces together transforms simple parts into a complex whole.
And the same goes for a plate of food. Each element of storytelling preached by my college professors has its place on a plate.
There is the foundation of leafy greens, providing the salad with a universally understood base. Then, the seasonal ingredients of eggplant and summer squash, relevant and appropriate for the time of consumption. The carrots and tomato add color and interest, drawing the viewer closer. Garnished with fresh herbs, their flavor and spice complete the package with a unique twist on an old classic.
Of course, there are the many nutrients, unrecognizable to the eye, yet existing prominently between the lines. No piece of art is complete without its metaphors. Those hidden discoveries are by far my favorite part of any tale.
What tells the stories in your life? Food? Music? Style?